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tedd60

1/18 Diecast dead?

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This month's Diecast Magazine had a pretty big opinion piece saying that 1/18th Diecast models are about dead.  The article cites a combination rising labor costs in China and the amount of time it takes to prep the car bodies after they've been cast.  Anyone who has built one of the old Hubley kits, or has done any work trying to spruce up a diecast body knows how much work goes into removing flash and molding marks.  It is true that prices have risen from the time I started to collect 1/18 diecast, with prices for "better" models now going $200, $300, $400 and much, much more.  It seems the higher prices go, less folks are buying.

The only alternative that the article offered was manufacturers switching to resin cast bodies, but I only see very negative reactions to resin I see on various 1/18th scale sites I go to.

I do not know all the reasons people wouldn't like resin, or other plastics for the matter.  I DO see collectors talking about the "good, solid feel of a metal car", as if weight was a sign of quality.

I love 1/18th scale models, I like the size and the amount of detail this scale is capable of having.  I agree with the writers observation that door, hood and trunk openings appear more in-scale than on other size models.  That being said, I think a LOT of these models simply are not very good ... and sale price doesn't have much to do with accuracy or quality ... some of the Maisto that is bought at big box retailers are pretty nice models and are priced very reasonably.

I would welcome a switch to resin or plastic, if it would serve to bring prices down and increase the quality.  Also, working with diecast metal is very difficult compared with working with resin or plastic to chop a top or doing other customizing or modification.  This might also increase the numbers of customers buying these things.

An alternative not discussed by Diecast magazine would be manufacturers of these models selling them as KITS ... just like the old Hubley kits.  I know it's been done before but i don't know what sales were like for these things.

 

Your thoughts ...

Edited by tedd60

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I much prefer good 1/24 or 1/25 diecast but the good brands were pretty pricey and the color choices were limited.  I agree 1/18 prices has gone up a lot more than the slight increases in quality.  There is also a space issue - they just take up a lot of room.

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Yep, you need lots or room to have a 1:18 collection, so I just buy the ones I really like, or have/had in 1:1 scale. And I already have too many. The resin bodied cars are nice, but resin isn't as strong as zamac (pot metal) and as such, they can't have opening doors or hood, because the hinges wouldn't take any stress, and the roof pillars are more susceptible to damage. They are marketed as high-end collectibles and sold at a higher price, which may be a bad move for sales; as it can't cost more to produce a resin curbside car than a full-detail diecast car.

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I've seen many 1/18th scale die-cast cars I'd like to have, but I just don't have the room. In fact I've been downsizing my 1/24th and 1/25th scale unbuilt kits for the last few years because of this reason also.

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I think that all of the "instant collectibles" markets have dried up. Most of the diecast market was people who thought they were buying them as investments and holding them to resell once they appreciated.  

Danger sign number one... back when Nascar diecast was still hot and everything was a "limited edition", a friend of mine needed money for another hobby and wanted to cash his in. He went to a show where all the dealers were asking huge prices for these same units.  He couldn't find any of them interested in buying his.. at any price.  So the purported "value" was artificial.

A few years ago I was contacted by a guy who had about 3000 1/18 scale cars from his father's estate.  He had taken the time to put them all in a spread sheet, and an inventory of how many of each he had.  He was quite ambitious in his evaluation that he saw "Many of them for sale on eBay for $100". He wanted to sell the entire lot.  None of these had ever been removed from their boxes. Just bought and tucked away. There were multiples up to five each of some of the cars.

I took a look on eBay myself.  Yes, there were dreamers offering some of the pieces for $100 or more.  They had no bids.  I also saw the same cars in the expired auctions with starting bids of $10 with no bids.  I reported this back to the guy, explaining to him how this market worked.  A while later he got back to me offering me  the lot for $5 a car. I still declined to buy.  

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I think that all of the "instant collectibles" markets have dried up. Most of the diecast market was people who thought they were buying them as investments and holding them to resell once they appreciated.  

Danger sign number one... back when Nascar diecast was still hot and everything was a "limited edition", a friend of mine needed money for another hobby and wanted to cash his in. He went to a show where all the dealers were asking huge prices for these same units.  He couldn't find any of them interested in buying his.. at any price.  So the purported "value" was artificial.

Yep ... newer Indy and F1 cars as well.  Worse?  Most of those cars had ZERO detail under the body shell ... mostly all you got was 4 tires and a paint job.  Talk about beanie babies.

And I know that size is a problem for a lot of folks. 

 

Nonetheless, I do love the scale.  If the manufactures switched to plastic or resin AND sold them un-assembled as kits to knock prices down, I sure would buy more of them.

 

Apart from the size, if the manufacturers switched to plastic or resin bodies, would you still buy them? 

How about 1/18th kits?

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I think that all of the "instant collectibles" markets have dried up. Most of the diecast market was people who thought they were buying them as investments and holding them to resell once they appreciated.  

Danger sign number one... back when Nascar diecast was still hot and everything was a "limited edition", a friend of mine needed money for another hobby and wanted to cash his in. He went to a show where all the dealers were asking huge prices for these same units.  He couldn't find any of them interested in buying his.. at any price.  So the purported "value" was artificial.

A few years ago I was contacted by a guy who had about 3000 1/18 scale cars from his father's estate.  He had taken the time to put them all in a spread sheet, and an inventory of how many of each he had.  He was quite ambitious in his evaluation that he saw "Many of them for sale on eBay for $100". He wanted to sell the entire lot.  None of these had ever been removed from their boxes. Just bought and tucked away. There were multiples up to five each of some of the cars.

I took a look on eBay myself.  Yes, there were dreamers offering some of the pieces for $100 or more.  They had no bids.  I also saw the same cars in the expired auctions with starting bids of $10 with no bids.  I reported this back to the guy, explaining to him how this market worked.  A while later he got back to me offering me  the lot for $5 a car. I still declined to buy.  

What, you mean to tell me my Derrick Cope Mane 'n Tail horse shampoo Taurus that finished 32nd in the 1997 Piggly Wiggly 500 isn't worth anything?  Welp, there goes my retirement fund. Guess I'll be working 'til I'm 80....

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I've already switched back to building models, mostly 1/24 kits to add to my diecast collection as I mostly collect 50's through the muscle cars. I have more than enough kits to keep me busy probably into my retirement years lol. 

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What, you mean to tell me my Derrick Cope Mane 'n Tail horse shampoo Taurus that finished 32nd in the 1997 Piggly Wiggly 500 isn't worth anything?  Welp, there goes my retirement fund. Guess I'll be working 'til I'm 80....

Now that's funny right there, I don't care who you are .:lol:

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Greetings,

Working part-time within an area automobilia shop, I've witnessed a fair amount of individuals opting for the sealed resin models even as prices overall have inched towards the moon.  These customers are most sensitive to the stance of the topic in question, and in particular, the quality of the exterior finish.  Other considerations include the usual opening features - but surprisingly not always.  Locally customer traffic is oriented towards technical or styling landmarks as well as vintage racing topics that haven't strictly been done in 1:18th before.  This revealed, there fewer people that will automatically purchase product based upon simple shelf appeal.  I simply turn away at the $150 mark, although for a select few this hasn't strictly halted their collecting habit.  I suppose too that few purchases translates as less pressure exerted upon storage capacity, while others have decided forthwith to embrace 1:43rd, sprinkling their collections with very select 1:18th and even 1:12th additions.  As for myself, I register shock and awe again and again.   Do these fellows have zeppelin hangers to display their stuff? 

Regarding U.S. topics, some residual demand exists for the Autoworld 1:18 reissues of the old ERTL tools, though it should be said that the color combination should really pop and/or represent a period promotional scheme if one is to expect a particular model to move.  More pointedly, prices overall have risen to the extent that yesterday's pattern of the mass purchase of every color and every release is pretty much history.  In particular, I'm not sure how some of the other producers struggling along now can clear a profit with only 20% of their new releases (or alternatively finished rereleases) finding a buyer. Another factor infrequently mentioned is the quiet flood of old material coming back onto the market at depressed prices for past owners clearing out collections or as a result of a seemingly endless wave of estate sales one atop another; i.e. more people are inclined to hunt for attractively priced used examples.  Putting it all together equates to a definite strain upon the traditional lower and middle end of the market, whereas something will always remain of the bottom and top; i.e. the near-toy vs. the archival piece purchased dearly. 

As an aside, too much indifferently tooled and clumsily conceived product washed onto the market during the early years of the Age of Diecast.  That the product sold etched away at the base of the unassembled plastic model car hobby is something I deeply regret, although as the floodtide of so-so product recedes, perhaps what will remain won't be judged so harshly in sum?  Many potential purchasers of this or that aren't strictly outfitted with the comprehensive skills set to capture what they desire in-scale via the kit route, while know too that refinishing aspects of a fair to good 1:18th scale diecast model can be an appealing way to reembrace the kit building hobby for being limited in nature and not requiring mastery of all aspects of fabrication and finish work. 

Perhaps more reason then to modify away given that quality detail cannot be reasonably afforded 'out of the box' then?   The days of 'Cheap China' are definitely done, whereas most of what I plan in scale is based upon what already exists within the marketplace.  I have about forty 1:18th models, a half dozen 1:25th projects, and a few 1:32 slot cars employed as static display pieces.  Any producer imagining that demand I represent will keep them in the black looking forward are destined to be deeply disappointed.  Thanks...

Mike K. 

Edited by swede70

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Not interested in 1/18 scale in any medium diecast, resin or plastic. 

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I think that all of the "instant collectibles" markets have dried up. Most of the diecast market was people who thought they were buying them as investments and holding them to resell once they appreciated.  

Danger sign number one... back when Nascar diecast was still hot and everything was a "limited edition", a friend of mine needed money for another hobby and wanted to cash his in. He went to a show where all the dealers were asking huge prices for these same units.  He couldn't find any of them interested in buying his.. at any price.  So the purported "value" was artificial.

A few years ago I was contacted by a guy who had about 3000 1/18 scale cars from his father's estate.  He had taken the time to put them all in a spread sheet, and an inventory of how many of each he had.  He was quite ambitious in his evaluation that he saw "Many of them for sale on eBay for $100". He wanted to sell the entire lot.  None of these had ever been removed from their boxes. Just bought and tucked away. There were multiples up to five each of some of the cars.

I took a look on eBay myself.  Yes, there were dreamers offering some of the pieces for $100 or more.  They had no bids.  I also saw the same cars in the expired auctions with starting bids of $10 with no bids.  I reported this back to the guy, explaining to him how this market worked.  A while later he got back to me offering me  the lot for $5 a car. I still declined to buy.  

I bought my die-cast cars for ME so that I could enjoy having them, and not as an investment for future sales. Mine will still be here when I join Harry.

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The biggest thing for me about 1/18 diecast, or any scale for that matter, is the problem with "metal fatigue". AKA the tin worm. I have had a LOT of 1/18 diecast from low line store bought Maisto models to expensive items from Carousel, AutoArt, Precision Miniatures, GMP, etc. Regardless of brand, you can have a model that will literally fall apart, or at the very least, get a paint "rash". This is particularly prevalent with the Ertl  'American Muscle" models. It does not discriminate by cost however and I have seen GMP and other high end models with similar problems. So, I have had a good number, about 5 to 10% of my entire collection of cars (collection in the hundreds) that have various degree of damage through no fault of my own. They were always stored indoors in a dry environment. There is also no guarantee that the others won't have a problem over time. In contrast, I have plastic kits that are from the late 50's and early 60's that are 100% fine, with the only issue being decal sheets that  yellow over time. I did not buy any of my models to turn around and sell them for profit, but in recent years I have decided to sell a good number of items due to space limitations and changes in lifestyle.( Married now, with many more family commitments, etc)  It is much harder to sell diecast for what you pay for them compared to plastic models. Most of the older plastic kits I have sold I made a little profit on, I am lucky to get my money back on diecast.  When you put them on ebay, most people factor shipping into what they want to pay. I still can't offer free shipping like a high volume dealer, so it is hard to get a decent price unless it is a super rare item or in demand at the moment. I always find it laughable when the guys who collect 1/18 brag about the fact that they are "real metal" and have "weight to them". BIG DEAL! They may also fall apart, or have the hood curl up or have paint crack or rash up......Frankly, I would not have gotten involved with the diecast had I known about these issues. These days, I am strictly back to plastic in 1/24 and 25th scale with an occasional big scale project. Honestly, I am kind of glad to hear 1/18 is dying out, I feel like a lot of people are not aware of the possible issues these models can have over time. 

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I bought my die-cast cars for ME so that I could enjoy having them, and not as an investment for future sales. Mine will still be here when I join Harry.

I have bought some signed and number prints of military aircraft and also military rifles for the very same reason.  I LIKE them and don't care a fig if they go up ... or down in value.

 

AS for diecast rot ... I don't want to speak too loudly ...  I do have some paint issues in my stuff, but, so far, no rot.  But that is just another argument for a switch to plastic or resin bodies.

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has anyone actually seen the ''metal'' deteriorate?  I am wondering if it is in the prep of the factory paint jobs. I have stripped a  few and found such thick paint and stuff that looks like ''Bondo''-  maybe thats the problem.     on my current rebuilds -instead of going through the long messy process of stripping- I dis assemble and scrub everywhere with a scotchbrite pad [etch] and palmolive. then prime and paint. I have had no problems yet and some I have left outside for years to let them weather on their own.  I get faded paint and chrome but no bubbles

I dont know why they picked 1/18 scale? I would have preferred 1/16.  the Hubley Duesenberg was the 1st 1/18 car I ever built -perhaps that was a deciding factor???  after that Bburago was the next 1/18 scale assembled model I saw- it kinda boomed after that.

it seems true-die cast is on the way out -however for me resin is too weak to hold up to the test of time-.it turns into rubber under hot water- what will it do if left out in the hot sun?             I think I will stick to die cast and styrene thank you.

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I never buy anything in this scale. 1/18th was always an odd size to me anyway. I only buy 1/24 or 1/25, but anything that negatively affects the hobby as a whole is of concern. I would however love it if they started issuing their subjects in on of these two smaller scales.

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after reading the threads and realizing this has been going on for about 100 years....like anything else''-''yous pays yer money and yous take yer chances''

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I promised myself to never buy a die-cast, especially in 1/18 scale.  And broke that promise when Precision Miniatures released its 1959 Cadillac hearse/flower car/ambulance line.  Those things are gorgeous and insanely detailed. 

Then I weakened again when Yat Ming released its 1/24 "Presidential Series."  Interesting White House cars, especially the JFK X-100 Continental and Truman's bubbletop Lincoln.  Though I've always thought those cars looked too big for 1/24 scale.

Then I went looking for some early Ford Explorers in 1/24 to build as police vehicles, which I could only find in die-cast from Maisto.  Which probably led me to the Maisto series of '53 Cadillacs, very nice 1/24 models also released as screw-together kits with optional wheels etc.  And the "Highway Patrol" 1/24 die-cast '55 Buick...and...and...

So I'll be having an eBay die-cast sale soon.  One item that seems to be really collectible - of all things - is the ERTL 1/18 "American Muscle" release of the car from "The Car" - that horrible 1977 horror movie with James Brolin.  It's a Lincoln Mark III modified by George Barris.

According to a die-cast fan page, nobody knows exactly how many of those ERTL made. Apparently not many.  Checking eBay "Completed Auctions," they seem to routinely go for more than $100, sometimes a lot more. 

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I sold my 300+ 1/18th car collection because of the rising cost for the new release cars and the space it took to display all those cars.

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I use to collect 1/18th, but sold mine off.  Found they took too much room to display.   Rather build 1/25-1/24th.  Although, I do have some 1/24th diecast.

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I used to be a big diecast collector (as you can see in my profile picture) but the price compared to quality has been not very fair recently.  I am big fan of AutoArt but they are replacing all the diecast model cars to a thing called "composite abs model" basically plastic model cars with diecast frame to cut down costs.  I was like okay that mean I spend less money on model cars so I wasn't too sad about diecast models going away.  I think one of the first composite Autoart released was the alfa romeo 4c and everything seemed fine and decent with fairly "low price" of $110.  Then they started to come out with lamborghinis, ferraris, and a lot of other very popular models.  I know that licensing costs a lot of money for toy manufactures, but they can't ask for $150 for model cars that only has opening doors... for example the gt86 rocket bunny only has opening doors and priced at $150 after shipping... That is just not making sense... They also started to release more race cars with same functionality (doors only).  Funny thing is their quality control is rubbish as well.  I've had more defects than perfectly fine models...  I think one of the model that I bought last was the aston martin vanquish and as expected the quality was BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH and I don't think they were putting much effort into paint jobs and had scratches like they weren't clear coated... After returning them, I jumped into scale modeling like tamiya kits or equivalent.  It took less room and also customizable it took some time to build but I appreciated them a lot more than diecast cars becauase "I built them"  as long as they came out without any mistakes lol but anyways that is my POV on diecast models.  

 

cheers.

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 I am big fan of AutoArt but they are replacing all the diecast model cars to a thing called "composite abs model" basically plastic model cars with diecast frame to cut down costs. 

cheers.

Now ... IF the car's body is made from plastic ... and IF the lower cost diecast (Miasto)  makers did it, THIS would be very interesting, especially to a builder/mod-er.

Chopped, Channeled, Lowered, Louvered and Frenched ... Here we come!

But 1/18th scale builders/mod-ers are a VERY teeny, tiney, itty, biddy little slice of the market, barely rising to a "niche", so they wouldn't do it for us ... but if it could drop costs and prices AND wouldn't ever rot ... well, who knows.

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To be honest, I started collecting die cast models because plastic unassembled model prices had become a little steep.....I don't have to worry about quality issues as I mostly take them out of the box and display them in store bought acrylic/plastic cases...Totally not interested in how much the model "could" be worth in the future as I buy them for ME to enjoy like others, but they can be seen and enjoyed much better that way; and the rubber bands and such don't have a chance to mar the finishes....I still build plastics, but mostly big rigs and the like....I already know I can build a car model out the box relatively easily, and I have enough in my stash to keep me building for the rest of my natural life.....So....Nothing really to "prove", if you will.....I'm having more fun collection die casts than I did when I was 8 years old....The 1/18th scalers are just bigger, and I, for one, am a big fan.......I "play" with them from time to time, too.....That's where the cheap Maistos come into play......I've gotten quite a few from HEB grocery stores and Sam's club for next to nothing in 1/18th die cast terms.....Around $14 each.....VERY reasonable......Making it all the more fun.....:D

Edited by kilrathy10

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